Recipe: 'Nabetiquette'


POSTED: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chef Hiroshi Fukui says his favorite type of “;nabe”; is “;kamonabe,”; made with duck and soba, but there's also “;yosenabe,”; “;chankonabe,”; “;shabu shabu,”; salmon nabe and countless other traditional one-pot meals from various regions of Japan.

“;'Nabe' basically means a pot,”; says Fukui, executive chef of Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas, explaining that different nabe dishes utilize different pots. “;The 'donabe' is made of clay; shabu shabu uses a copper pot. And sukiyaki—I believe that is a nabe dish as well, but I'm not sure—uses a cast iron pot.”;

Fukui says nabe cooking, like much of Japanese cooking, is all about ratios. Nabe broths usually incorporate dashi (often of seaweed and bonito), soy sauce, sake and mirin (cooking rice wine).

“;Yosenabe, which has lots of chicken, pork, seafood and veggies, uses a ratio of 1-to-1-to-1-to-1. The ratios vary according to the nabe,”; Fukui says.

Salmon nabe, however, usually incorporates a miso broth, and sukiyaki uses a thick sauce that caramelizes in the pot. And depending on the nabe, there is a dipping sauce as well.

For artist Mat Kubo, however, who cooks his grandmother's version of nabe as a means of meeting new people, the culinary facts are less relevant than the social impact the meal has on diners. In fact, Kubo has created his own version about the origins of nabe:

“;There was a small village in Japan with a couple of farmers and fishermen, and they all brought together the fruits of their labor—like (the story) 'Stone Soup,'”; he says. “;It's my own story, but it sounds about right to me. It's the liberty I can take as an artist—I make my own history.”;

Kubo's recipe, “;Nabetiquette,”; is cooked in a clay pot on a portable gas stove. He offers this advice: “;Make nabe your own; there really are no rules. Nabe is about coming together and sharing. Your nabe should be delicious, but a good conversation over a warm meal is more fulfilling than the food itself. That is nabetiquette.”;


5 large, dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked 20 minutes and drained
1 medium won bok (Chinese cabbage), cut into 2-inch pieces
9-ounce block konnyaku (potato starch), cut at an angle in 1/4-inch slices
2 round onions, halved and cut 1/8-inch thick
7 ounces (2 bunches) enoki mushrooms
1 large bunch green onions, cut at angle into 3/8-inch pieces
1 block firm tofu, 1/4-inch-by-1-by-1-inch pieces
18 pieces fried fishcake (ball style, or any other style), cut 1/4-inch thick
1-1/2 pounds salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 to 1 pound beef or pork, thinly sliced

» Broth:
2 large sheets konbu (seaweed)
2 handfuls katsuo boshi (dried bonito flakes)

» Dipping sauce:
2 cups soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced

» Zosui:
3 cups rice, cooked
3 large eggs, whisked

Cook broth ahead of time by bringing 10 cups of water to a boil. Add konbu and katsuo boshi. Lower heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Strain.

To make dipping sauce, add minced garlic to soy sauce and let sit at least half an hour.

Arrange vegetables, tofu and meat on platter with won bok as base.

Place stove and nabe in center of the table, with guests seated around.

Fill nabe 3/4 full with broth and bring to boil. Add 1/4 of shiitake mushrooms, won bok, konnyaku, onions, enoki mushrooms, green onions, tofu and 1/2 of fishcake.

Bring to boil, cover and lower heat. When pot begins to steam, check won bok for color and tenderness—let this be your guide.

Serve each guest a portion of veggies, tofu and fishcake, emptying pot. Add just a little bit of broth. Guests may use dipping sauce to taste.

Turn up heat again and repeat ingredients, adding in 1/2 of salmon. Lower heat when broth boils. Cover and allow to cook, but be careful not to overcook salmon. Serve.

Add more broth between courses as needed; make sure pot is more than half full of broth.

For third course, cook remaining salmon; for fourth, add meat and remaining vegetables. (Thin meat will cook quickly.)

The last course consists of “;zosui,”; a porridge combining rice, eggs and the remaining broth. This is the conglomeration of all the previous course flavors, and is analogous to the conversations and stories shared through the meal.

Add broth to pot if necessary, to about 3/4 full. Add enough rice to fill just below surface of broth. Bring to slow boil, stirring frequently for about five minutes or until rice has softened.

Add eggs, stir five times and allow to cook for about a minute. Serve. Guests may add dipping sauce to taste. Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (not including dipping sauce; based on 1/2-pound lean beef): 950 calories, 32 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 210 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 100 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 63 g protein